I’m slowly becoming obsessed with an idea that I stumbled upon during the weekend performances of our rock opera, The Clowns.
After workshopping the production for two weeks with the actors, director and my writing partner, the show has evolved in ways I could have never imagined.
Most surprising for me was the way in which the actors have informed my vision of the characters. In less than two weeks, these characters have become more compelling, fully realized beings, and much of this progress was the result of the talent and insight of the actors portraying them. From improved dialogue to newfound aspects to a character’s personality to invented backstory to something as simple as the way a character walks and moves, these skilled and thoughtful professionals have provided me with an enormous amount of material for future revisions.
In many ways, they have come to know the characters better than me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve stolen so much from each one of them already, and I hope to continue to do so as we move forward.
As a novelist, I suddenly find myself wishing that I could have professionals like these performing each of the scenes in my manuscript as I finish them. I fear that there is so much more that I could learn about my characters if I could involve actors in the writing process.
This is the idea that has consumed me for the last few days.
Maybe I should give this a try. If I choose the right book idea, with a small enough number of characters (my books tend to be sparsely populated already) and a relatively uncomplicated setting, it might be possible for me to work with a group of improvisational actors and a director to inform my writing process.
At the minimum, it would be something new, and even if it failed to inform my writing in the ways that I am envisioning, it couldn’t hurt the process. I often think the publishing industry should be looking for more ways to innovate our product. Perhaps this could be one of those ways,
Of course, I’d need enough money to keep professional actors on staff during the writing process, but maybe Kickstarter could help.
Would readers be willing to fund a project like this in return for a signed first edition of the novel (signed by the author and the actors) plus complete video footage of each of the scenes as performed by the actors involved?
Is there something else that I might be able to offer as part of a Kickstarter package that readers would enjoy? Maybe a copy of the initial draft of each chapter followed by the revised copy of the chapter after having watched the scene portrayed by the actors?
I would love your thoughts on this idea. I’ve been prone to falling in love with some unlikely, unreasonable, unfeasible ideas in the past, and if this is just another one of them, please let me know.
Save me from myself.
But if you think it has merit and have any ideas to add to it, please let me know. that as well.